Seven Summer Grilling Tips

By David Sievers

1. Clean That Grill!

When was the last time you actually cleaned your grill? We don’t just mean a quick scrape after the last cookout, either, but an actual cleaning? A clean, lightly oiled grate and a thorough inspection of the gas burner holes with a toothpick will get your flame burning evenly and cleanly, so your food will cook correctly and without any sketchy additional flavors.

2. Use the Right Fuel

If you’re lighting your charcoal with lighter fluid, you’re doing it wrong. Lighter Fluid becomes part of your food, and charcoal might give it a nice smoky flavor but burns erratically. Instead, use a mix of briquettes and wood chips and invest in a chimney lighter to get them going. They’ll burn more evenly and a lot longer.

3. Pay Attention

Aim for the best results so your barbecue will be worth your while. That means paying attention to your cooking. You can still mingle around and chat with your friends and family but don’t let your meat burn. You need to adjust the flames for what’s on the grill, and you need to time things properly so your food comes off that grill tender and juicy, not like a Hockey Puck.

4. Don’t Trust the Gauge

Your fancy grill came with a thermometer. Don’t rely on it too much. In a closed grill it’s measuring the overall temperature, not the cooking temperature right on the grill, and in an open grill it’s not measuring anything at all. Use the age-old hand method.

5. Don’t Forget the Veggies!

Carnivores tend to salivate over the steaks and burgers on the grill, but a grill can make some amazing vegetable sides as well – don’t neglect them! Cut them thick, oil them and sprinkle kosher salt on them for a quick and easy – and delicious – vegetable celebration.

6. Make Your Own Herb Brush

Don’t use a store-bought brush on your food – make one out of herb sprigs including Rosemary, oregano, and thyme, bundled up and tied together with twine. Dip it in olive oil and brush your meat and those herbs will add a subtle but effective dimension to your food that people will line up to get seconds of.

7. Avoid Flare Ups

Dripping fat causes sudden explosions that can singe your eyebrows and ruin your food. Trim the fat ahead of time, and keep a ‘cool spot’ on the grill where you can move meat to when things get hairy.

Grilling is a sweet science – but it’s a science. If you go at it with a ‘Kiss the Cook’ apron and a few beers, your guests will smile politely and head out to a burger joint on the way home. Take it seriously and your guests will be dying to come back next time!

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